A Treatise of Human Nature HTML version

from pain or pleasure. By indirect such as proceed from the same principles, but by the
conjunction of other qualities. This distinction I cannot at present justify or explain any
farther. I can only observe in general, that under the indirect passions I comprehend
pride, humility, ambition, vanity, love, hatred, envy, pity, malice, generosity, with their
dependants. And under the direct passions, desire, aversion, grief, joy, hope, fear, despair
and security. I shall begin with the former.
The passions of PRIDE and HUMILITY being simple and uniform impressions, it is
impossible we can ever, by a multitude of words, give a just definition of them, or indeed
of any of the passions. The utmost we can pretend to is a description of them, by an
enumeration of such circumstances, as attend them: But as these words, PRIDE and
humility, are of general use, and the impressions they represent the most common of any,
every one, of himself, will be able to form a just idea of them, without any danger of
mistake. For which reason, not to lose time upon preliminaries, I shall immediately enter
upon the examination of these passions.
It is evident, that pride and humility, though directly contrary, have yet the same
OBJECT. This object is self, or that succession of related ideas and impressions, of which
we have an intimate memory and consciousness. Here the view always fixes when we are
actuated by either of these passions. According as our idea of ourself is more or less
advantageous, we feel either of those opposite affections, and are elated by pride, or
dejected with humility. Whatever other objects may be comprehended by the mind, they
are always considered with a view to ourselves; otherwise they would never be able
either to excite these passions, or produce the smallest encrease or diminution of them.
When self enters not into the consideration, there is no room either for pride or humility.
But though that connected succession of perceptions, which we call SELF, be always the
object of these two passions, it is impossible it can be their CAUSE, or be sufficient alone
to excite them. For as these passions are directly contrary, and have the same object in
common; were their object also their cause; it coued never produce any degree of the one
passion, but at the same time it must excite an equal degree of the other; which
opposition and contrariety must destroy both. It is impossible a man can at the same time
be both proud and humble; and where he has different reasons for these passions, as
frequently happens, the passions either take place alternately; or if they encounter, the
one annihilates the other, as far as its strength goes, and the remainder only of that, which
is superior, continues to operate upon the mind. But in the present case neither of the
passions coued ever become superior; because supposing it to be the view only of ourself,
which excited them, that being perfectly indifferent to either, must produce both in the
very same proportion; or in other words, can produce neither. To excite any passion, and
at the same time raise an equal share of its antagonist, is immediately to undo what was
done, and must leave the mind at last perfectly calm and indifferent.
We must therefore, make a distinction betwixt the cause and the object of these passions;
betwixt that idea, which excites them, and that to which they direct their view, when